Is there a CBD High?
You will often hear that THC is the chemical that causes the psychoactivity you experience when smoking weed and that CBD is not psychoactive. These top 3 reasons people report for using CBD – also known as cannabidiol are sleep, pain and anxiety and most want the positive effect of the CBD without getting stoned or high. So is CBD psychoactive? Does it make you high?
The answer is simply – nope. CBD is (as we will read below) not what causes the high associated with weed.
CBD does not get you high.
Is it psychoactive?
The answer to this depends on your definition of psychoactive.
Normally when we use the term we are are using the term psychoactive in relation to for example opioids like morphine & heroin and THC in cannabis. In those cases there is a strong effect on the mental condition and can cause for example, euphoria. CBD does not have this effect.
On the other hand if you use the term and look at CBD and its effect as a purist – given that the effects people are searching for are dependent on the Central Nervous System (CNS). All three main conditions mentioned – insomnia, pain and anxiety are working through our brains. So in that sense – you can say that it is psychoactive but it does not get you high.
Why does CBD not get you high?
First let us look at the main ingredient that does lead to intoxication when using weed. While you hear that the main chemical responsible for getting stones is THC – it is in fact more specifically delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta 9 THC). Delta 8 THC also shares this property but it is available in much smaller quantities and has a lower effect than Delta 9 (around half).
The THC molecule (which was discovered by an Israeli scientist Rafael Mechoulam in 1965) works on a receptor found throughout the brain known as CB1. The THC molecule binds to the receptor and activates it causing a series of effects which we perceive as being high or intoxicated. A chemical that activates a receptor is known as an agonist or activator. Conversely a CB1 receptor antagonist – blocks the receptor and when this is given – the THC molecule cannot bind to the receptor and this can stop or reduce this resulting intoxication.
On the other hand cannabidiol (CBD), being the second most abundant cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant unlike THC is significantly less activating and is even considered an inhibitor of the CB1 receptor although it can can still bind to it. As such when THC is available the CBD competes with the THC to bind to these receptors and can actually reduce the level of intoxication (which is why some people recommend high doses of CBD if someone is “too high”).
Indeed in the presence of THC CBD can:
- Cause less paranoia
- A more mellow high
- Less psychosis